The AIA Prior Use Defense and DevOps

Configuration as Highly Valuable Code

As I wrote about earlier, the expanded scope of the ‘prior use’ defense in the America Invents Act (AIA) provides you with an improved defense against patent litigation. If you’ve adopted DevOps and Continuous Delivery, you need to make sure that you have a strong record of how you’re deploying your software, not just how it was developed. After all, some of your secret sauce may well be your deployment process – a clever way of scaling your application on Azure or EC2, or perhaps a sophisticated canary deployment technique.

Proving that your clever deployment tricks were in use at some point in time is just another reason to treat configuration as code and store it in your Git repositories. In order to do that, you need to figure out a couple of key problems:

  • How do you secure the production data while still making less sensitive deployment data available to development teams?
  • How do you prove that your production data was actually in use?
  • How do you manage having Git repositories on production app servers that may be outside your firewall?

WANdisco’s Git Access Control and Git MultiSite provide easy answers to those challenges.  Git Access Control lets you control write access down to the file level, so you can easily let developers modify staging data without giving them access to production data in the same repository. These permissions are applied consistently on every repository, on every server.

Similarly, Git Access Control provides comprehensive audit capabilities so you can see when data was cloned or fetched to a particular server. You can also use these auditing capabilities to satisfy regulatory concerns over access to production environment data.

Finally, Git MultiSite’s flexible replication groups let you securely control where and how a DevOps repository is used. For example, you may want to have the DevOps repository available for full use on internal servers, but only available for clones and pulls on a production server.

If DevOps has taught us anything, it’s that configuration and environment data is as important as source code in many cases. Git Access Control and Git MultiSite give you the control you need to confidently store configuration as code and establish your ‘prior use’ history.

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